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Thinking about going meat-free or vegan but worried about getting all the nutrition you need? How will you get enough protein? Where will you get your iron? What about vitamin B12?

These questions are important to consider but the good news is that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can certainly meet your nutritional needs. What’s more, there is an increasing body of evidence showing the health benefits of a plant-based diet, particularly when it comes to reducing chronic disease risk.

However a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t just about cutting out meat or animal products. It’s important to replace animal protein with a variety of plant foods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds. And there are some nutrients that may need special attention.

Here are some tips from Dr Kate Marsh for making sure your meat-free diet is giving you all the nutrition you need.

While these guidelines are a great place to start, everyone’s nutritional needs are different. So if you are planning to, or have adopted a meat-free diet, consider seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for individualised advice.


You can search for an APD with experience in vegetarian nutrition by visiting the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) website.

Dr Kate Marsh is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Credentialled Diabetes Educator and Health & Medical Writer based in Sydney. Kate has followed a whole food plant-based diet for more than 20 years and is passionate about the health, ethical and environmental benefits of vegetarian and plant-based eating. She regularly writes and speaks on the topic of plant-based diets, has written several research papers and textbook chapters on health benefits and nutritional aspects of vegetarian and meat-free diets, and is the co-author of The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook. 

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